Childless by CHOICE, Get It?

I don’t want kids. Never have. I consider birth control the greatest invention of the 20th century and I’ve been taking it religiously for nearly a decade. No pregnancies to date, and in the rare event of one I’d be first in line at my local abortion clinic before that zygote even mildly resembled a human. I’ve given a great deal of thought to parenthood—arguably more than many who ultimately pursue it. And recognizing the enormous responsibility, commitment and sacrifice involved, I respectfully refuse to reproduce.

Not long after we started dating, I informed my husband that if he wanted kids, I wasn’t the girl for him. He thanked me for the heads up and said he could easily do without them as well. Relieved, we continued dating for several years before we got married, both in our early 20s.

From the moment we announced our engagement, the pressure began: “So, when can we expect to see a little Melody or Matthew running around?” Matthew always smiled and changed the subject. I, on the other hand, confronted the question head on. “Never” was my standard response, and it always evoked laugher. Nobody could imagine that someone would choose not to procreate. But we stuck to our guns, and now, in our early 30s, people are slowly realizing that we weren’t kidding.

As a result, many have come to view us differently—as selfish, cold, narcissistic and unwilling to take on responsibility, despite all that we’ve done personally and professionally to counter such claims.

I say it’s just as cold to bring a child into this world on “accident,” and just as selfish and narcissistic to breed simply because we want to create miniature versions of ourselves upon whom to impose our dreams, goals and double helixes.

Matthew and I both have dreams and goals of our own, and they don’t include making nearly enough money or having nearly enough time to nurture a child. But once I say this out loud, people invariably try to convince me that raising a kid is easier than I think. Newsflash: I was a kid, and I know better.

Given the almost unanimously negative responses I’ve received regarding my decision to remain childless, I’ve actually considered feigning infertility. That way at least people wouldn’t feel compelled to pressure me into joining the band of breeders. Though I’ve decided against it, the fact that I’d even consider lying about my fertility, let alone discussing it so openly, speaks to the radical evangelical and fundamentalist views of so many parents.

I have no problem with anyone else’s decision to bear children. I respect and appreciate the wonder of giving birth. I even cry during childbirth scenes in movies. I also fully believe that motherhood is one of the highest callings out there. Still, it’s not my calling, and I don’t think that recognizing and honoring this reality makes me evil or heartless. Rather, I think it makes me wise and responsible. So, please dear breeders, stop trying to recruit me and my kind.

Photo from Flickr user ponchosqueal under license from Creative Commons 2.0

Comments

  1. woollythinker says:

    You have my sympathy and my respect. I also didn't want kids, and got very sick of hearing "oh, you'll change your mind" and all that. As it happens, I did change my mind; but I don't for an instant imagine that every childfree person will eventually do so.

    And I'm frankly rather conflicted about my decision to start a family. Not on a personal level – my kid is fabulous and I'm thrilled to bits; though as for "not as much work as you think"? No, that's true. It's way, way more. But I digress. While I am selfishly enjoying my little girl, I am profoundly suspicious of my own motivations, and think that by far the more responsible and selfless choice would be not to add another human being to this overcrowded planet. Never did understand the attacks on childfree women for their "selfishness".

    So well done, you, for thinking carefully about your decision, and for putting up with all the mindless crap that gets dished out in praise of baby-making. Really it's nobody's business but your own; but for what it's worth, I applaud you.

  2. I get the "you'll change your mind" and "you are going to regret it when you too old to have children" but the worse one of all is the "You working so hard and building a wealth. who going to inherit the house when you die"

    I am 29 now and have absolutely no interest in having a kid or getting married. Why can't people see that?

    • An absolute classic experience I got was my father's wife leaning over a public dinner-table to me and, in front of my husband who'd recently had a vasectomy, telling me that having kids was 'the most wonderful thing' and that 'if I ever got the opportunity I should grab it'! What was she advocating? Adultery? Forcing him to have a reversal? Prayers that the operation had gone wrong? It's quite amazing how people are so utterly convinced that because they made a certain decision, you'll forever regret not doing the same thing…

  3. I am so glad that you chose not to have children. The childless by choice people running around with this mentality makes the world a better place.

  4. I hate kids says:

    I'm 35 and married, no children, and have went through the same thing. Married at 26, from then on my family and even one obsessed co-worker said whens the kids coming? Finally after day after day year after year I told that co-worker (they get on my nerves !)

  5. I'm 37, childfree and no – I haven't changed my mind. When my husband and I met, we basically agreed after attending a wedding overrun with kids and said "You don't want kids, do you?" We both said no. Yeah, there's pangs here and there, just as there are pangs of me wishing I practiced ballet more to become a professional ballerina. Both have some romance to them. Both have a really brutal underbelly if you look. And I'm not cut out for either whatsoever. I'm sure it is really fulfilling to those who have the talent and calling.

    We got some major interrogation at first. People thought it was a choice that one of us was forcing the other into. It eased over the years. I've seen too many unwanted kids and people who romanticize it aren't doing anyone any favors.

  6. You're absolutely right.

    Seven years ago I was a recent Catholic convert and religious conservative. Though we had planned to have kids someday I got pregnant, like, immediately upon getting married (which was when we started having sex, using – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! – natural family "planning," falsely so-called.)

    I found, and continue to find it UNBELIEVABLY hard, and gee, would you believe it? Not a lot of my conservative friends would allow me to say how hard it was, even when I was nearly destroyed by postpartum depression. I was supposed to be blissed-out by it all, and so are you, evidently.

    For me it worked out somewhat okay in that I got the hell out of that brand of religion and also realized: wow, people's lives are really complicated and I can't possibly work out, in theory, in advance what someone else should do based on what deity I imagine. Don't know why that's so hard to figure out, for me or anyone else.

  7. melodymoezzi says:

    Thanks Woolythinker! Sounds like you're a great mom just due to the fact that you even bother to think of these issues, and it gives me so much hope to know that people like you are raising daughters. There appears to be hope for the next generation after all :) . Thank you!

  8. "I say it’s just as cold to bring a child into this world on “accident,” and just as selfish and narcissistic to breed simply because we want to create miniature versions of ourselves upon whom to impose our dreams, goals and double helixes."

    Actually, it's a lot more selfish and cold for people to bring kids into the world they can't take care of financially and/or emotionally than to make the choice *not* to have them. I would like to have children, but later in life than usual, and it's a lot more complicated if you're a lesbian. I respect your choice and your respect for the choice of others. However, I'm a little disturbed by the venom I've seen on childfree blogs/websites toward children and parents. :-/

  9. Ruth Rosselson says:

    Thanks for your blog. I too have never wanted children. And like the person above, was told that I'd change my mind as I got older. I'm now 40 and I have not changed my mind. Rather than the term 'childless' I prefer child-free. This is a positive decision that I've made. I accept that I am missing out on many things by choosing not to have children, but I am gaining in other things too. And I have more time and money to donate to good causes as a result of my decision; being child-free does not automatically equate to being selfish and self-centred.
    I'm lucky in that many of my peers are child-free too. Some because they're not ready yet, and others because they've made the same decisions as me – for all sorts of reasons. So I don't feel like a freak for my choices. Just as I can love being in the countryside without wanting to live there, I can love my friends' children, without wanting to have any of my own. Unfortunately, admitting that you're not maternal is still a taboo in our society, rather than being the valid and positive choice that it can be.

  10. Awesome post. We're getting married in September and expect even more needling from people who don't understand and/or respect our non-breeding stance.

    • Kodiak, I’m a “breeder” & my best friend is not. Each of us made personal decisions that we felt was best for us. I love & respect my friend for being honest & true to herself. More people should understand that just because you choose not to have kids, it does not make you any less of a woman, wife, etc. To everyone out there congrats on the birth of being child free.

  11. melodymoezzi says:

    Thanks everyone. And to Tiamat: I really feel for you regarding your experience with postpartum depression, and I applaud you for being brave enough to bring it up. I have bipolar disorder, and for me, postpartum depression or even psychosis would be a real possibility. People like to play it down, but it can be devastating. That's not the reason I'm not having kids incidentally–sometimes people ask if it's because of my bipolar, and I always assure them that I have MUCH better reasons (as in, the ones I stated) than a fear of postpartum depression/mania/psychosis or fear of passing on a disease that I've been able to treat well and still thrive with. At any rate, that was a long tangent just to say that I commend you for bring up the important and far-too-often ignored issue of postpartum depression. Thanks!

  12. Melody,
    You so totally rock.
    I have children, and I love them more than life itself.
    But, just as my grandma says: If I had to do it all over again…LOL
    I also think people don't realize the huge responsibility child rearing is… until it's too late.

  13. thank god someone finally said in a sane manner! yes childless by choice. Now, if someone can tell me why at this stage of the medical game, where one can breed a sheep and a dog to make a genetic miracle, we can't find a birth control pill for women that doesn't make them hormonal and insane?

  14. I postponed having children until I thought the time was "right" and I'm not sure I would make the same choice again. Having kids (I have two) is a LOT of work. I am looking forward to the day when my children don't need a chauffeur / nurse / whatever and I can finally — again — devote the time and energy to other areas of my life that I have temporarily put aside. I applaud your decision, especially in the face of many in our society who try to tell you that you are missing out on some magical experience. You are not! (Though I think you need to relax a little and wave off the breeder-pushers with a vague "whatever".)

  15. Ms. Melisa says:

    Ooookay… I'm going to be the one who's a bit more anti-parent. I may be one of the ones that Lujza mentions up there when she comments on childfree forums. Here's the thing, there's a time and place for everything and I'm sorry, but children don't belong everywhere. Let me specify- this is an anti-parent sentiment, not anti-child. In NYC, there seem to be a lot of parents who want to have their cake and eat it, too. Do what they want, wherever they want, with Junior in tow. Many times it's very inappropriate.

    In addition, the cult of parenthood has given so many parents this incredible sense of entitlement. It gets downright ridiculous. Having a baby is NOT special. Sorry. A monkey could do it. And they do. Better than us.

    And I gotta say, I've been attacked too for being "selfish," which is the most outlandish thing you could say to a childfree person. Maybe not all of us, but you can bet a huge percentage of childfree individuals spend more time volunteering and donate more money to good causes (and believe me, it's not because of a guilty conscience).

    I'll stop here, but I could go on and on and on… ;)

  16. This article pretty much defines why I'm pro-choice. I have no desire to see people who don't want kids, have them.

  17. Great piece, Melody – especially on the validity of other goals, on the selfishness of having kids if you don't really want them (rather than of not having them) and on the evangelical zeal of some parents. One of the things I've been shocked by when I've taken a public position on this (with the added argument of environmental concerns: that the last thing the world needs is more overconsuming Westerners, and my husband's very deep concern that with climate change going the way it is, no child of ours would thank us for bearing it) is the vitriol that some people respond with, or the defensive advocacy of their own choice. If parenthood is so wonderful, why do people seem to spend so much time pleading that I must experience it? Wouldn't the benefits be obvious? And when people take the time to search out my private email address to tell me I should kill myself because I don't choose to have children, then I can't help but question both their own suitability to parent, and whether they in fact have questions they can't admit to themselves.

  18. I totally think this needs to be said sometimes. My sister and her husband have been married for 4 years but are only about 30 years old, and they are still putting it off because they are not ready. But EVERYONE keeps bothering them about it. To be honest I think it's great that they are waiting, because in terms of maturity, finances and time commitment, they really ARE NOT READY!! I don't understand why people can't respect that sometimes. I'm 31 and single, and I think one day I may want kids, but it's definitely not a certainty yet! Thanks for this article!!

  19. The inability to have biological children doesn't stop this biological imperative arguments or body policing. It just gives the same people a platform to promote/insist on adoption–especially of all the "poor starving children" around the world.

  20. It is always refreshing to hear other voices uphold "childfree by choice." I knew at a young age I did not want to have children. Since then even perfect strangers have told me "you'll change your mind when you're older, dear." It's been twenty-five years and I happily stand by my decision. I admit, there was a time working in an office when the pressure was so ridiculous, I let someone make their own conclusions on my fertility status and did not correct them. They were so embarrassed and almost ashamed at calling attention to my alleged infertility, they quickly shut up and went away. It was an interesting scenario, but not one I'll repeat. It is not okay to harass someone because they opt to be childfree.

    • I, too, was telling people at a young age that I would never have children, and everyone laughed in the tone of “aw, what a sweet innocent little girl! Just wait until you grow up. I remember those days, heehee”.

      I find it awfully ironic that since then, I’ve identified as gay, and been diagnosed with a genetic disorder, a defect in my body’s collagen. I’ve spent 19 years with frequent joint pain and occasional joint dislocations, as well as heart problems and fainting. I’m not about to inflict that on a child. But on the bright side, the women who were laughing have stopped, once it became clear that an accidental pregnancy is pretty unlikely, and that no, I won’t change my mind once I’m pregnant.

  21. I wish there were more people like you. Personally, I want kids very much. But I believe wholeheartedly that bringing a child into the world accidentally is a tragedy. I wish for all children that they are wanted before they are born. Anyone who thinks seriously about the responsibilities of child-rearing, whether the outcome is to have kids or not to is a hero in my book.

  22. David M. Dismore says:

    Hooray ! Even growing up in the conformist, family-obsessed 1950s I knew that parenting wasn't for me, but not until I was a college student watching the Phil Donahue Show one day in 1970 did I have any idea that there were others who felt the same way. Of course, the audience was totally hostile to these people who were expressing views contrary to their own – and which most had never heard before – but the guests handled themselves really well, and provided me with a few fine and much appreciated role models. In 1974 the National Organization for Non-Parents started a local chapter that turned into a great adventure, and I still correspond with a number of people I met way back then. There are few things that have remained totally consistent from grade school through Senior Citizenhood, but having no desire to be a parent while respecting those who choose to be a responsible parent is one. Fortunately, choosing not to have children is now a much more common and accepted option, so we don't need the same kinds of support organizations and media outreach campaigns as we did 40 years ago. But we can still use great essays like this one to explicitly and articulately represent our part of the spectrum of reproductive choices, so thank you for writing and sharing it !

  23. AMEN SISTER! I don't think anyone could have said it better than that. Fantastic article.

  24. I'm still young enough that whenever I tell anyone that I don't plan ever to have kids (or at most, I would adopt rather than give birth), I always, always, ALWAYS hear: "you'll grow out of it." For one, this assumption that it's impossible for a women to choose not to have kids irks me to no end, and for another, I hate that it's considered "better" to bring a new life and another mouth to feed into this world rather than provide a home for an already existing child.

    I'm sorry to hear you have to put up with so much to the point of considering faking infertility, and I hope you never reach that stage. :)

  25. I completely and wholeheartedly respect your choice not to have children, I also do not want to have any children, but I must say you calling people who want to have or have had children "breeders" makes it look as if you do not respect the choice of people who have children.

  26. Thanks Melody. I'm childfree by choice (not childless). I never had the pressure from family, or at least I never noticed or paid attention to it. I wanted a tubal ligation in my 20s (a long time ago) and had a hard time finding a doctor who didn't think I'd regret it later. I haven't. My younger siblings have kids and I am crazy about them. My siblings are amazing parents and have nurtured wonderful kids and I get to enjoy them, love them, spoil them and I don't have to feed, clothe, house and educate them. I do wish having children was not the default position for most women. We would have fewer unwanted, abused and neglected children and women would be happier with their choices. It is all about making the best choice for yourself and your life.

  27. Has it not ever occured to these people that it is extremely RUDE and UNCOUTH to butt into the most personal and private part of someone's life by interrogating them on why they do not have children?? Seriously, does nobody have any manners anymore?? I could NEVER stick my nose into someone else's business like that by interrogating them about their plans for procreation and then berating them to explain their choice to me. I just couldn't stand to be that kind of nosey, rude person. And really, it's best not to bring these topics up to others–especially strangers–because for all you know, that person really could be infertile! They might already feel terrible about their infertility and your unsolicited comments and questions would only be rubbing salt into their wound!

  28. Some of these mothers who are throwing around the "selfish" label need to take a good hard look at themselves first. I have seen some behavior from young mothers that is THE definition of selfish! Like one girl I knew who got married to a guy she had only known for 2 weeks & then got pregnant ASAP to make sure he didn't change his mind and leave. (Of course that little plan backfired and he divorced her a year later, leaving her to raise a child on her own with no education & no job.) And then there was another who saw being pregnant as something to brag about & rub in other people's faces. Day after day after day, she posted the same MySpace statuses like "LOVING my baby bump!!" and "Be jealous of my beautiful growing belly." As if being pregnant & having a kid is something to brag about. No offense, but getting knocked up is NOT a grand acheivement. It's "mothers" like these who objectify their children & treat them as bragging tools or Mini-Me versions of themselves or use them as pawns to keep a man in their life who are the REAL "selfish" ones.

  29. I am 30 years old and have no children yet. I would very much like to have a child someday soon, but first I have to find a decent, mature man who isn't terrified of settling down and starting a family. In the meantime while I'm waiting, I have to endure a non-stop barage of backhanded, snide remarks and questions from people who all had several children by the time they were 25 and view me as some sort of oddity or spinster because I'm not like them. I have even had cruel people outright laugh in my face and tell me that my eggs are rotten and that I'll never know the joys of having a child of my own because I'm too old now. I have a secretary in my office who once asked me, "How old are you?" When I told her my age, she actually gasped and said, "Oh wow, if you want to have children, you better do it now before you run out of time." Seriously?? Since when have women suddenly become menopausal at age 30??? My aunt just found out that she is pregnant with twin girls and she's 40!!! My other aunt had her daughter at age 30 and her son at age 42.

  30. I am so utterly sick of the way women who want to remain child-free, are put down, patronized, & otherwise disrespected for their life choice. I hate that is has become so acceptable to horn in on a part of life that is SO intensely personal; imagine hassling a co-worker with, "Well, when are you having your gyno appointment? Are you going to shave first? Well? No? Why not?" It is just the same to me; none of anyone's damn business. You can only be doing the world a favor at this point, by choosing to give the overtaxed resources of our world a break. There are by far, more than enough people who desperately WANT children, without trying to guilt people that DON'T want them, to have them. We're the farthest we've ever been from world extinction, so the people who drone on about "keeping our species going" are utter morons.
    I don't see these people stepping up to offer to take care of other people's kids, when the parent finds out it's not for them after all. If it was "different when it's your own", for everyone, there wouldn't be a single case of neglected children, child abuse, absentee parents, reluctant fathers, or miserable & regretful parents. I'm sure people probably think I'm sometimes over-defensive when asked about my choice, but they need to understand that it's because I'm TIRED of being hassled, questioned, and laughed off as though I don't have the brains enough to make a decision about my own life. A person becomes bitter after years and years of not being taken seriously & being told you don't know your own mind well enough to decide something like this. Honestly; if you ask someone "any kids?" and the person says, "No", DROP it. First of all, they could be one of many people who CANNOT have kids & you could be opening up very painful wounds for them. It could ruin their entire day. Secondly, them saying "No", doesn't mean, "oh, this must be up for debate", and thus leave you open to comment. Take their "no" and respect it; it's none of your business anyway.

    • THANK YOU Chris, for saying exactly what I’ve thinking and saying all these years!!! You hit the nail on the head, it IS extremely RUDE and UNCOUTH to stick your nose in and pry into one of the most personal parts of people’s businesses. I seriously believe nobody is being raised to have any manners anymore! I for one am sick and tired of people putting me through the Inquisition on why I haven’t had any children yet and the nasty remarks that I have rotten eggs and that my uterus is empty and worthless!! It’s not that I don’t want children, it’s just that I haven’t been able to find a mature, emotionally stable man to start a family with. I am considering being artifically inseminated, but I guess then people will harp on the fact that I didn’t conceive my child in the “normal” way because I can’t find a man. Sometimes I think people just want to look for things to bitch about.

  31. Thanks for your honest article on your choice to not have children. Finally, enough of us are speaking up to begin to make a difference. After all, if 1 in 4 women at the age of 45 (new stats) doesn't have kids, all these ladies can't be freaks of nature! Childfree women have rich, full lives, and the energy to focus on the things we have chosen for ourselves, whether this is our careers, friends, or other endeavors.

  32. Thank you again for all your thoughtful comments. I just wanted to clarify that I wrote this from a very personal perspective…only now am I becoming more familiar with the Childfree Movement and the appropriate terminology. Keeping that in mind, my apologies for the use of words like “breeder” and “childless” where that use may have been deemed potentially offensive. I had no intention of offending anyone, and please rest assured that I won’t be using either of these terms in the same way again :) .

  33. This article is great. If we could find more people like this around, it would be so much easier for us to lead a life without children and without criticisms for not having them. And…

    "I hate that it's considered "better" to bring a new life and another mouth to feed into this world rather than provide a home for an already existing child. "

    I agree with this comment. I've always said that if I am to have a kid someday (which I doubt), I would rather adopt one. I couldn't bear giving birth a children knowing that there are already several of them needing a better home.

  34. RetroRiotGrrl says:

    I'm so glad to read this. I'm only 16 but from the moment I was old enough to understand the concept of growing up and having children I knew I wanted nothing to do with it. I'm sick of people snickering at me when I say I don't want children. "Oh you will sweetie" they all say in that horribly annoying condescending tone. To me its a life decision; if I said "I don't want to do heroin when I'm older." people wouldn't try to convince me otherwise or worse tell me I'm flat out wrong about how I feel. I don't like children, I didn't even like them when I was one! I'm a heavy pot smoker, and unless I am forced to stop smoking I will be for the rest of my life. I'm selfish. I recognize that these are just a few traits that probably don't make the best parent. So why do I have to put up with YOUR bullshit because I know myself better than YOU(generally a total stranger or casual acquaintance). I'm sick of this weird sense of entitlement other people have to tell me what I will and won't do with MY uterus.

  35. I agree with respecting people's right to decide not to have children, and I've always thought it was more selfish to have kids than to not have kids, once I had kids most of my time and attention became focused on them, before I had kids, it was focused on the outer world. I am curious though to know how many women who don't want kids when they are in their twenties, end up wanting them when they are in their 30s. I am sure that doesn't happen to everybody, but that is what happened to me.

  36. As a childless woman, by choice since I was 10 years old, and now in my 40s I know it was the best decision for me. I learn to live and now laugh at the faces people show when I tell them I don't have kids. They look at me with compassion, like I have missed so much. Someone once dared to say that people with children were more spiritual mature. I am happy with my choice and I do not regret not having children for me is the best I could do for my self. I did not want to imposed my frustrations to anybody else. How could I give birth to another human being if I am still giving birth to myself?

  37. Thanks for writing this. My husband and I are child free by choice as well. We've been clear about it since before we got married but people still ask us regularly. I'm already sick of people telling me I'll never know what I'm missing. I know that motherhood is amazing and I'm missing out on it. But they don't know what they're missing out on either. We live in Japan right now and both have plans to do grad school (one of us in Europe). We plan to study, work and travel and do all these things abroad as much as possible. The lifestyle we are choosing is possible because we won't be tied down with kids. We can take advantage of opportunities that present themselves that people with children can't. They're just different paths, not better or worse. I could say they're missing out on all the travel I'm doing but I know it's not for everyone. I wish they could see that motherhood just isn't for me.

    I also take offense to the selfish assumption that sometimes arises. We look forward to being generous in other ways. We want to host exchange students and help new refugees, we sponsor a woman in Africa, we have relationships with our nieces and nephews. I think not having kids will free me up to care take for my parents when they're older. I much prefer the company of the elderly to children; that's just always been the case with me.

    I'm 30 so I'm at a point with my friends where some have kids and some are deciding or waiting for a partner. I'm looking forward to when some declare themselves childfree by choice as well so there's a community of us.

    My certified nurse midwife just renewed my birth control prescription until I go home for a visit in 6 months. I'm going to send her a New Year's card to thank her for being understanding about my reproduction choices and unique situation since I live and travel abroad often. Thank goddess for birth control!

  38. I always knew I wanted to have children and I have two, I divorced when my youngest was 3, this is my problem everyone wants to hook me up with a man. I am fine being Man Free, I’m not a lesbian. I’m just me and very happy with my kids and no other, my kids are almost growen and I look forward to my time alone, why is it no matter what choice we make someone thinks it is the wrong one because it is different from them.

  39. It’s great you feel comfortable to say that – and expect to be heard. I too, once felt that way, but I was faced with that choice at 26 y/o and chose to have the baby. it was the most amazing and life altering decision I’ve ever made. Motherhood fit me like the glove I refused to wear because I thought it was too traditional. Now, not only do I fight the hardcore fight to continue to allow women the choice to become Mothers or not, but I also fight the hardcore fight to give women the BIRTHS they deserve, I fight to give babies the nutrition they were born to eat.

    Child birth should not be the major abdominal surgery it is now, or the snowballing of unnecessary interventions. Mothers and babies shouldn’t be inundated with ignorant and purposefully misleading propaganda to feed their newborns inferior synthetic foods. Natural labor and birth, breastfeeding until at least 2 y/o, bed-sharing, organic foods, better choices for Mothers in daycare and work schedules… THAT I find it more important now.

    I 100% back women who choose to abort, I fight for their rights to keep their body their own and to keep that option legal. But you all need to know, womens’ reproductive rights do NOT end with the abortion issue. Just as your Mother sisters back your right to choose – you need to back them up too. Fight for norma births, fight to end formula as a ‘lifestyle choice’, fight to make food safer for everyone, fight for Mothers to have more flexible work schedules so they can be with the family they CHOSE to have.

  40. Having children as"default option ". Well said! I'm child-free by choice (tubes tied @31,now 52). Rude comments from people that I bet MEN are NOT asked "Do you HATE kids?" "You're SELFISH"

    I think women who do NOT have children have often THOUGHT ABOUT THEIR DECISION FAR MORE than many mothers. I recognized that bringing another human being into the world was the BIGGEST RESPONSIBLITY.When I was in my 20s, I actually thought I would have ONE child at some point in my life—but, I had NO interest in being a single mother from the start & I wanted to have a decent income.(NOT poverty). I had teenparents who divorced @ 20. MATURITY is ESSENTIAL for parenthood—yet that;'s NOT considered enough! Too many women have a child for the WRONG REASONS (get/keep man—have "purpose" or because they think a child will give them the love they missed). This REAL selfhishness—NOT those of us who have weighed the issue deeply B4 NOT having children
    Fubakky: 200,000+ children in foster care—ADOPT!rather than biologically replicating one's self.

  41. Rebecca Martin says:

    What a great article. These are my EXACT sentiments and have been since I was 16 years old. I figured out at that time that it took a lot of hard work to be a GOOD parent. I knew at that time that I either wanted to be a good parent and take full responsibility for my child or I didn’t want to do it at all.

    Of course, along the way, like so many other posters here, I was told “Oh, you’ll change your mind” (but I haven’t) or “It’s different when it’s yours. I’ll admit that there is the odd occasion when I think I would like to have children. But 95% of the time, I’m perfectly happy with my life the way it is. I’ve stuck to my guns on my choice to refrain from reproducing and I’ve followed my dreams and fulfilled my goals. When my friends and family say “It must be nice to do X” or “I wish I could do X like you do” I remind them that I made a CHOICE not to have children just as they made the CHOICE to have children. I’ve chosen a different path that will be just as fulfilling for me as child-bearing is for many others.

  42. The worst part of it for me has been (1) marrying into a large family and (2) coming from a large and largely deceased Italian family of which I am the one of 3-4 remaining descendants. Talk about pressure! From my in-laws I have actually been told my "only purpose is to procreate," forget being happy with my husband in childless bliss (he also does not want children). Similarly, I have heard within "coincidental" earshot that my husband deserves someones who would want to give him children and watch him grow into a wonderful father and that the only way to be truly intimate and in love with another human being is to "make a baby with them." Great family support, right?

    It's is tough world out there when it comes to standing up for yourself, as a woman, and for your reproductive choices and rights. Whether it's the right not to have children, or to bear them your own way, someone else is always going to tell you, me, or her that we are wrong. Right now, children are not in the cards of life for me, and i do not anticipate that they ever will be. Maybe one day I might adopt, but until then I have to keep reiterating that it is my choice and mine alone. My body is my private property and my marriage is my own to judge. Whether it's your in-laws, your own family, friends, acquaintances, or straight up nosy strangers, stand up for yourselves, ladies. It's your private property and it's no one else's business why, how, or if you decide to remodel or add on. Trespassers will be violated. End of story.

  43. Women's reproductive rights encompass a helluva lot more than simply the choice to stay childless or to have the right to an abortion. I'm a hardcore feminist, even more so since I became a Mother. Becoming a Mother opened my eyes to the plethora of suffering and fighting women go thru simply to have a natural birth, a birth without the threat of an automatic major abdominal surgery because a normal labor doesn't fit into their OB's schedule. The daily propaganda vulnerable new Mothers go thru about the lies and intentional misinformation given out about formula being as good as breastmilk, babies NEVER getting the optimal food for their development….

    If Mothers can fight for all women to the right to choose an abortion – then the child-free women need to STEP UP and help fight with Mothers about allowing birth to go back to the way it should be – a natural situation of life, to stop million dollar corporations lying to Moms about their products, and to enforce a more safe environment for food, meat animal environments and have healthier choices!

  44. Wow, I could have written this article 25 year ago. I stuck to my guns and never regretted it. Interestingly, though, I had many friends who had children who sheepishly confided in me later that they wish they hadn't. I am grateful to my supportive parents who never pressured me at all to have children. My only regret: that our tax system favors those with children and penalizes those who made a responsible choice.

  45. Public schools pollute the environment by exploiting childless taxpayers!!!!

    We need childfree school districts with no school taxes!
    http://tinyurl.com/townBC2
    http://tinyurl.com/towncontraception

    • Pollute the environment? I'm sorry, but I'd rather not have my education impinged upon because someone doesn't want to do their duties as an American citizen. Most of the money that we pay in taxes doesn't even go to education, but rather the military.

    • I pay taxes so other people's kids can go to school so those kids grow up educated and aren't a big ol' drain on the system. Hello, cause and effect!

  46. AnonymousOwl says:

    "Breeder" is an offensive slur and not a term a Feminist should use. I've heard stories of these mythical busybodies who insist people should procreate, but I've never had anyone suggest that anyone should want or have children. Perhaps Ms. Moezzi should think about what she's doing to invite such comments or perhaps she's just an unreliable narrator using exaggeration to get attention for her blog posts?

    • That’s a real ignorant comment to make, AnonymousOwl. These “mythical busybodies” DO very much exist because I hear rude comments from them all the time! And I’m not even childless by choice either; I WANT to have children!! But because I’m 30 years old and it hasn’t happened for me yet, I have to endure rude comments and be the butt of people’s “lonely infertile spinster” jokes. I guess people just really enjoy stabbing me and twisting the knife in me nowdays!!

      • AnonymousOwl says:

        At much older I've had people ask me if I have children (which seems a natural question as most women my age probably do) but I was never harangued about it.

        People say things all the time that can be taken as rude (like calling people with children "breeders"). I have a disease that people try to offer advice about which they don't realise is insensitive. Sometimes people are curious, awkward, or just trying to make conversation, and don't think about the impact it has on the person they are speaking too. I imagine that you say things that are construed as rude as well. It is just human The fact that you see people as enjoying stabbing you with their comments seems a very sad way to see the world. You give the message meaning, perhaps because it connects for you because of your own issues, but If you learn to deflect the message it won't hurt you.

    • I agree… breeder is a derogatory word. I admit to using it for families in which one Mother has more than 8 children. I love being a Mom, I hope to have 3-5 kids by the age of 40 y/o… but more than 8 children in a single family is just a drain on resources, and truly makes me wonder why they felt they should have so many children.

    • You’re kidding right?! If I had a dollar for every person who tried to convince me I really DID want kids and that it was selfish and silly not to breed, I would be able to put the non-existent little spawn through college!

    • AnonymousOwl, your comment makes me laugh. My husband and I have been married for ten years and we are constantly harassed about our choice. We are a military couple who move frequently so we are meeting new people every few years and we have to go through the questions again and again. People are now starting to ask if we are infertile because we don’t have kids. My husband has been teased that he just won’t let me have kids because he likes his big boy toys. We have a lot of hobbies but we do them together and we love the life we’ve made together. A lot of the comments are made in a jesting tone but the bottom line is people have a hard time respecting our choice not to have children. We are labeled as selfish and we are excluded from group activities because we don’t have children. We too have discussed feigning infertility just to stop the questions. What does that say about our culture?

      I believe that the term breeder is extreme and I don’t use it. I think our culture is in serious need of a realignment of perspectives. We need to learn to respect the choice to have children as a personal choice, individual to each couple.

      Great post Melody! I love your last line because I’ve said something similar to my readers in the About Me section of my blog.

    • edgedweller says:

      Are you kidding? You’ve never had anyone suggest people should want or have children? Clearly we can not be living on the same planet. I think Ms. Moezzi used that word out of frustration. I believe she’s already apologized. I, for one, certainly see what she means and don’t think she’s exaggerating in the least.

  47. im with you 100%

    I so badly want to find out that im infertile to stop the negitivity towards me, but it would be a far greater curse to be pittied for not being able to reproduce, then to simply stand up for what i believe is right for me.

  48. I guess I never got the memo that said we were all supposed to start caring about whether the women around us were having kids or not. Personally, I have one, because I wanted one and we could afford it and my daughter has enriched my life beyond measure. But if someone doesn’t want a kid and does other things that enrich her life beyond measure – you know, the stuff I can’t do easily right now like travel and make tons of art and so on *jealous* – then that’s great, too. Maybe it’s just that in my circle of friends, there are a lot of child-free people, but until a few years ago but before I had children, I never even knew that anyone was getting any flack.

  49. Kudos Melody!
    Your post so encapsulates the rationales for childfreedom and the stigma and assumptions that still exist around intentional childlessness! I wish I had had the opportunity to interview you and your husband for my book Two is Enough.
    I will be blogging on this post for sure at http://www.childlessbychoiceproject.blogspot.com and suggest my followers read the very cool comments posted here.

  50. Great article, just one pet peeve I have about those that are without child by choice.

    It’s childFREE, there is nothing “less” about your lives by choosing this lifestyle.

    /rant over ;)

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